Why am I here?
By H.K. Challoner & Roland Northover - From Antidote To Fear

Viewing This Pattern Of ever-widening realms of consciousness and realisation it must gradually dawn upon us that there is no limit set to what we can, each one of us, achieve, except that limit impose upon ourselves.

We can all become, if we so choose, increasingly receptive to the powers and attributes, the love and the glory of that Divinity Which, we are assured, exists in Its Wholeness, Its unlimited potentiality, in every single being in Its creation.

This is, of course, one of those mysteries which are too profound for any ordinary man to understand until he has reached great heights of spiritual perception. But we have evidence that many of the Illuminati have done so, and we are always being assured that what they have done we can also do if we are ready to follow the paths they indicate. One thing, however, seems quite certain; the greater the extent to which we can "forthshine"  as a Hebrew Scripture graphically expresses it  that is, make ourselves transparent to this infinite Power within us which is Love  so that it flows through us outward, the nearer to understanding the significance of Divinity we shall be and the more perfectly shall we carry out our responsibility towards God.

But however united we may all be in our Reality in this universal movement towards the same goal, we have a measure of free will and can refuse to follow the dim impulses which draw us upward  the Voice of the Divine calling us home. Yet at some time or another the troubles and sorrows caused by our own self self-will and our resistance to the tide of evolution will open our eyes and we shall turn and listen. The moment this happens we shall not be left without help and guidance.

So when we feel bereft, cut off, lonely and afraid; when we can see no clear goal to strive for and are lost in the dark forest; when we succumb to a thousand fears, let us remember that it is only because we have become confused by the miasmas of earth and forgotten our high destiny. And we have probably forgotten something equally important  the enduring love and watchfulness of Those above us  but not so far above that they cannot reach down and help to pull us up to the rung of the ladder upon which they stand. But again  and this cannot be stressed too often  this depends entirely on whether we make the effort to reach up and grasp their hand. The great desire of these Elder Brothers is to aid and strengthen us in the long climb. But they cannot do so if we turn our back on them and can't be bothered to make the initial effort to respond, to create the conditions in which their help can be received. Our aim must be to balance ourselves upon each rung, reaching up towards the next in aspiration but with arms wide stretched, poring out all that we have hitherto received in love, wisdom and service to our fellow men. As we so stand, we perceive that we ourselves form one of the most ancient and profoundly significant symbols in the world, that of the equal armed cross.

This attitude typifies our two types of responsibility, upward to God, outward to man. Which attitude, paradoxically, is the only one which will bring us to the top, for we and the ladder are the same.

Of these two responsibilities the first and foremost is, of course, that towards God and until this fulfilled to the greatest extent possible, which means until some measure of dedication has been achieved, our other responsibilities are not likely to be perceived with any great degree of clarity. We shall continue to wobble between the pairs of opposites clinging desperately to one side or the other to keep our balance and never able to maintain ourselves upon the Middle Way of Wisdom in alignment with our Soul.

This is obvious. For only in the light which flows from above and gives a more inclusive vision can the basic Reality behind any phenomenon, activity or problem in daily living be rightly assessed and met.

For normally we see life in all its aspects through the distorting mirror of our own very partial and imperfect vision which is coloured by our separative nature and self-will.

Although every power we manifest, everything we ARE, is, as all the great Experts stress over and over again, divine in its inner nature and essence, distortion has taken place because we normally do not recognise this fact and act upon it. The sense fog in which we habitually live, the fog of our own-clouded vision, the illusions engendered by our immersion in dense matter and our concentration upon it, all play their part in veiling Reality.

So, clearly, these sages are right when they insist that our first responsibility to the Divine is to cleanse this mirror so that it may reflect a more accurate and clear view of the truth and show us things as they really are and not just as they appear to us to be.

Until we have done so, to some extent at least, we are as a man who seeks an object in a dark room. His hands touch this and that, trying to assess their value and guess whether they are what he is looking for. Nine times out of ten he will guess wrongly and when eventually he sees them in the light will discover that he holds some worthless imitation or something entirely different which, in his blindness, seemed to be the pearl of great price.

And the more penetrating and accurate our vision becomes the more we come to realise that this responsibility towards God does not lie so much in the conventional realms of prayer and praise but rather in a very practical work of learning how to "let through the light" so that we may rightfully fulfil our duty and obligations also towards His creatures in the material world where we have been placed, and serve them with love and wisdom.

Once, however, we are ready to accept, if only provisionally this all-over picture which reveals a Universe based upon strict law illuminated by love and united indissolubly in all its part in an archetypal pattern, our whole view of ourselves in our relation to God and to man must change.

We begin to see ourselves as minute segments of a kind of cosmic living jigsaw puzzle in which each segment is of vital importance to the picture as a whole. For the time being we can know only our tiny corner of this pattern, the part into which, to complete that specific bit, we must fit. If we do not do this, if we try to jam ourselves into a corner or refuse to fit in anywhere; if we shove other pieces out of the way because we think their bit more interesting, our corner will temporarily suffer and in consequence so will the whole Design.

Such a view as this reveals the vital importance of our individual contribution to the total picture at any given moment. We belong. We are co-workers with the omnipresent dynamic Forces throughout the Universe. And in order to fulfil our own destiny  our obligation to the Architect of this Design, which is our vertical responsibility to God  it is of primary importance to try and discover what our particular role in life is meant to be, and when we have found it, to work at perfecting our own corner by fitting ourselves into it as harmoniously and willingly as we can.

For only in our rightful place, doing our natural duty to God and man, serving and loving those with whom we are brought into contact, shall we grow out of our present stage into a higher one, or, to change the metaphor, shall we be enabled to establish ourselves upon the next rung of the ladder.

We may not like our little patch. Nine times out of ten we don't. But after all, granted these general premises, we made it, so what have we to grumble about? In any case, it represents our job in building up our part of the Grand Design. If we refuse to do so similar conditions will be meet us again and again until we have accepted the opportunity to play the part assigned to us. Some time the tiny segment must take is rightful place in the Pattern however long delayed that may be.
So, however difficult  and often pointless and senseless  the work may seem, we can take heart of grace. All those who have gone before have succeeded in however small a degree in merging their every-day consciousness with that of their Soul.

This means, of course, that we have to create where we stand the uttermost perfection at every level we can achieve. To carry this out it is essential to develop all our potentialities within the limits by which we are conditioned. And if these conditions seem cruelly constricting and narrow  as they so often are  it will help to realise that these constrictions are there just for the purpose of achieving perfection within them; they, too, are part of the jigsaw puzzle. In accepting such conditions, infusing them with beauty and light and love lies true happiness. For just because it is our job in the Divine Plan, the forces of the Universe are on are side. In this, too, we shall find security. A point so often overlooked by people caught up, as we all are, by the modern obsession for size and quantity, is that it is quality which really counts. The delicate, minute carving in a walnut by some Chinese master has an intrinsic value as great, perhaps even greater than any more spectacular work of art.

"Impossible to live that way in the world today," many will exclaim. Difficult  yes, most worthwhile things are; but certainly far from impossible. And it will be made much easier once we can accept this idea that we are where we are because it is just here that we are needed most and can do most good. That this and no other is the bit of the Pattern we were born to make perfect. And another thing is to keep in mind  we have not been drawn to it arbitrarily, but because we ourselves have created the need for the particular experiences and relationships with which it will present us. For we can all see easily enough that perhaps the larger number of the trials and difficulties we are called upon to face have been brought upon us by our own actions in this one. By resistance to the Pattern or by blindness to its requirements, by not fulfilling obligations and so on. Although, of course, the seeds of such mistakes, weakness, ignorance, greed, stupidity, emotional reactions of whatsoever kind must clearly have been sown long before, since they are an intrinsic part of our character.

But even if this theory of causes reaching back into the past make no appeal, it could equally well be postulated that the Divine Vision in our own Soul has seen that just here and nowhere else is our next step on the way to greater understanding and therefore to a greater chance of liberation from suffering and fear.

Part of our trouble is that we are all so confused about the real values in life. Everything presses in upon us so and one of the greatest pressures of which we are hardly aware is the importance placed all over our world upon material things and standards.

In revolt against this some people, calling themselves spiritual, have been led to an unrealistic denegration of matter as such. They feel the physical world is somehow a "mistake" different to or separate from the Divine, even evil in itself.

They do not see that by implication they are separating matter off from the Divine Life of which it cannot be other than an aspect, expression or reflection since, as is stressed again and again, matter is energy and energy IS the divine in manifestation.

For in this system of thought nothing can ever be conceived of as being separate from its Source and essential Being; it is only separate to our vision in the modes through which we make contact with and apprehend the world outside ourselves.

The Spirit of Christ entered into the material world not  surely  to prove that it was unnecessary or a "mistake" but  on the contrary  to reveal how it could be used to glorify its Creator and to improve man's lot.

Jesus made this clear enough. He brought a transforming vision down into everything that came his way, demonstrating how matter could be so purified and transilluminated by spirit that even things considered most debased and commonplace, a jar of wine  a fish  a tree  criminals and prostitutes could be infused with such a radiance of Light and Love that they became full of divine significance and potentiality, instruments through which God's presence could be revealed to man on earth.

Once we achieved this vision of matter as intrinsically divine in essence we shall be bound to approach everything in an entirely new way, recognising all things as instruments dedicated to Divine ends, and life itself a sacred trust.

This would of course be much simpler if, only for a flash of a second, we see, as no doubt the Great Ones could see when they chose, the elements of which matter is composed in its Reality. These would surely then appear as emanations of the Divine Life  a dance of radiant, joyous atoms, the very life-energy of God, His own Vehicle of expression upon our particular level. It is just possible, of course, that we might be so overwhelmed that we would cease to become capable of getting on with living in any practical sense at all. Everything about us would be revealed itself as so holy that we would spend the rest of our lives in a daze of adoration. That seems to have happened to some who had such moments of vision; but it certainly would not be carrying out our responsibility towards God. We were put on this earth to stand upright  to become ourselves gods, not to lie flat on our faces.

So it is probably a merciful dispensation that, until we reach the stage in which we are ready to see Reality clear-eyed without being thrown off our balance or destroyed as Semele was by the sight of Zeus, it is hidden under many, many veils, veils which we ourselves must gradually learn to draw aside, so that our eyes may become strong enough to look upon the Light without danger.

We are always being told that the crux of the matter is that any and everything can be used either for the glory of God or for the glory of man. It depends upon where we put our emphasis. Equally everything can be used to block the light or to reveal it. Nothing is high, nothing is low in the Divine Economy.

And according to the extent to which we are able to recognise this and to put it into practise, so will our lives be based upon an enduring or an emphemeral basis.

This realisation should give us a much better sense of proportion in our everyday life and prevent fanaticism and lack of balance. For this approached to living is no unattainable ideal so high that we, ordinary folk, will turn away in despair saying "Very fine, but not for me".

As an instance: There is nothing reprehensible in making money honestly and spending it with wisdom and discrimination to increase right human relations  which words cover a wide field. Beautifying one's environment comes into it since atmosphere is of great importance and affects all who enter its sphere of influence. Money is energy  energy is Divine. And beauty in all its aspects is the outer reflection of an inner archetypal Harmony and Order.

So objects of all kinds, cars, washing-machines, radio; TV. Sets, anything which helps to give man leisure to develop himself mentally and spiritually and carry out wider responsibilities are all good, but the acquisition of such things for their own sake is not given priority and not made an end in itself. It is when material aims and objects are sought entirely for the purpose of self-interest or self-indulgence that we "sin". (And it is interesting to note that the word "sin" means "deprivation of being".)

By concentrating on material things overmuch, by disregarding the real purpose of living we do deprive ourselves of true "being" and so live with the continual nagging fear of losing what we cherish. Material objects can  and all too often do - thus stand in our light and deprive us of the capacity for gaining that true vision which is freedom.

For the man or woman who makes a god of any of the forms through which the Divine is expressed or revealed is bowing down to idols. And this is true whether these "forms" are those of human beings or of things or even of thoughts, desires and ideas, the energies which are loaned us for a while to use in the service of God and our fellow men. Ideologies (the half perceived shadows of Divine Ideas) can become gods too. So can our own self-interest, vanity or greed; so can our loves and hates.

All these gods create in their devotees a deceptive sense of their absolute importance to the happiness of the individual. But as they are by nature ephemeral, possessing no permanence in Real Being, they engender sorrow and pain through an almost frantic fear of loss.

But the Reality, the Divine within, can never be lost. When This and This alone is perceived in every form and worshipped and served as Itself in its every phase, whether in appearing, abiding for a time, or passing away, fear of loss will increasingly weaken as realisation of True Gain and the impossibility of losing that Gain dawn in the heart and mind of men.

So another of our responsibilities towards God consists in setting up no altars to any thing or being less than the Divine; seeing It in all things, but worshipping It in nothing less than Its Wholeness.

"All very well", we exclaim again, with some impatience, "theoretically we know all this, of course, but how on earth can we be expected to retain this picture of an ever-present Deity in the pressure of living, while trying to keep going at all in the ever more complex demands of daily life, torn as we are by emotional conflicts and practical problems, confused by the threats of the contemporary World? How can we undertake this responsibility of being constantly aware of and giving service to 'The One in Whom we live and move and have our being'? How can we perfect these lines of communication between our personality and our Soul, if that is what responsibility to God implies? We just haven't got the time or opportunity".

The point is, of course, that we have. We can always do what we want to do enough and find time in which to do it. And here the stress must be upon the word "enough".
Supposing we really became convinced that our whole happiness, our sense of security, our freedom from fears and our general efficiency in living depended upon finding time? Supposing we grasped the fact that once this alignment with our Soul was achieved, even to a small degree, everything else in life would begin to make sense and fall into its proper place, beauty and order would be seen emerging from chaos, hope would blossom from despair? Perhaps then we would blossom from despair? Perhaps then we would begin to desire this union with our Source enough to find time to learn how to develop it. In fact it might soon become the prime factor in our lives, the most interesting and even the most exciting thing in existence. For it would give meaning and purpose to everything we thought or did or experienced.

It has been suggested that one of the purposes for which we have been created is to render back to God the divine powers and energies of which all things on our planet are composed and which have been lent to us, as it were, so that we might do His work on earth.

But these powers have, for long ages, been perverted, debased and vitiated through misappropriation and misuse so that our task now, as self-conscious human beings, is to regenerate and purify them, recharge them with divine energy through our own efforts, for only then can the work to which they were originally dedicated be fulfilled.

One thing we must never do  bury them, ignore them and above all, not fear them. They can become our most precious heritage. How can we set about this all important work and the methods which exist to enable us to do so will be discussed in a later chapter.

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